Ceredigion Historical Society

Aberaeron: The Community and Seafaring, 1800-1900

The Reverend Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne’s successful attempt to obtain a Harbour Act for Aberaeron in 1807 was less a gesture of inspired investment than a calculated move based on the development of coastal trade during the eighteenth century. The only evidence we have beyond the eighteenth century strongly suggests that this trade was almost non-existent before 1660.

Part of an article from Ceredigion – Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, 1969 Vol VI No 2

The Shipping Companies

The Aberaeron Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. (founded in September 1863). Summary Statement Specifying the following particulars as required by Act.

  • The office of the company is at No. 3, Quay Parade
  • Managing Director J. H. Jones, 3 Bridge St.
  • Amount of Capital £4,000
  • No. of shares 400
  • Amount of Calls received £3988.0.0
  • Amount unpaid £12.0.0

Ships Built at Aberaeron

This list is based mainly on the Shipping Registers, 1824-1900, at H.M. Customs and Excise Office, Aberystwyth, and also on Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1882. A small number were obtained from other sources. The fifth column gives the name of the builder.

Types of ships/boats

  • Sloop: A one-masted sailing boat with a mainsail and jib rigged fore and aft.
  • Smack: A single-masted sailing boat used for coasting or fishing.
  • Schooner: A sailing ship with two or more masts, typically with the foremast smaller than the mainmast .
  • Brigantine: A two-masted sailing ship with a square-rigged foremast and a mainmast rigged fore and aft.
  • Brig: A two-masted square-rigged ship, typically having an additional lower fore-and-aft sail on the gaff and a boom to the mainmast.
  • Barquentine: A sailing ship similar to a barque but with only the foremast square-rigged and the remaining masts rigged fore and aft.
  • Ketch: A two-masted, fore-and-aft rigged sailing boat with a mizzenmast stepped forward of the rudder and smaller than its foremast.

Aberaeron Ships by Year, Name, Type, Tons & Builder

Year BuiltVessel NameVessel TypeTonnage in tonsBuilt By
1838Fair Hopesloop37John Harries
1840Orionsmack30John Harries
1841Catherine and Janeschooner71 
1842Demetian Lass—–—– 
1843Andessmack35John Harries
1844John and Henryschooner—–John Harries
1846Adroitschooner74Evan Jones
1847Camdenschooner69J & Henry Harries
1847Limaschooner84E Jones
1848Aeron Vale—–129J & H Harries
1848Manturaschooner79E Jones
1848Pandoraschooner79J & H Harries
1849Aeron Maidschooner76E Jones
1849Henry and Dorabrigantine119J & H Harries
1849Letitiaschooner61J & H Harries
1849Lively Lassschooner78E Jones
1849Mountain Lassbrigantine112J & H Harries
1849Puellaschooner99J & H Harries
1850Feronia—–141E Jones
1851Aeron Queenschooner96E Jones
1852Ellensmack25Owen Jones
1852Glyn Aeronschooner65J Harris II
1852Gwaliaschooner118E Jones
1855Gambiaschooner97E Jones
1855William Marybrig239J Harries
1856Aeron Belleschooner47D Jones
1856Gowerianschooner99E Jones
1857Edward Johnschooner137J Harries
1857Magdalen Estherschooner104D Jones
1857Uraniaschooner107E Jones
1858All Rightsmack39J Harries
1858Aricaschooner111J Harries
1858Condorschooner114D Jones
1858Xanthippebrig225E Jones
1859Edward Johnschooner137—–
1859Farmers Lasssmack28D Jones
1859Leanderschooner72J Harries
1859Maria Annabrigantine143J Harries
1860John Pierceschooner97E Jones
1861Janesmack30D Jones
1861Killia Lassbrig116D Jones
1861Limabrig215J Harries
1862Aliciaschooner96D Jones
1862Catherine Annabarquentine149—–
1862Dewi Lassschooner93E Jones
1862Martha Janesmack29J Harries
1864Albatrosssmack18D Jones
1864Madonabrigantine163D Jones
1864Oronsabrigantine158J Harries
1866Pleiadesschooner149D Jones
1866Star of Walesbrig184D Jones
1868Janesmack29D Jones
1883Cadwganketch120D Jones

The following were possibly built at Aberaeron:

1845 Aeron Lass  schooner 80(built in 
1863 Gwladys brigantine 157 (Wales: Harries)

N.B. This is a preliminary list; a great deal of patient research is necessary before we can obtain a definitive list of Aberaeron-built ships.

Tourism has replaced trade as the chief occupation of the harbour a few fishermen maintain the seafaring tradition. We should mourn not only the disappearance of the activity of the trade but also the loss of craft-the craft of the mariner and the shipbuilder.


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